Queen of Katwe is a 2016 American biographical sports drama film directed by Mira Nair and written by William Wheeler. Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Madina Nalwanga, the film depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe who learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at World Chess Olympiads.
Adapted from an ESPN magazine article and book by Tim Crothers, the film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films. Queen of Katwe was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The film had a limited release in the United States on September 23, 2016, before a general theatrical release on September 30.
Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Over several years, her success in competitions and tournaments leads to greater competitions, stress, and identity issues. Phiona must learn more than the game as she is exposed to life outside Katwe. Her education, both formally and informally, continues as she dreams of escaping a life of poverty for herself, her mother, and her siblings.
This is another one of those films I did not get to see because I was on vacation at the time plus the movie got kind of overshadowed by other bigger films coming out at the time, The Magnificent Seven, Storks, Deepwater Horizon, Mrs. Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, it was overlooked by a lot of other movies and did not do very well at the box office, only making about $10 million over a $15 million budget.
Well, unfortunately, a lot of people really did miss out on what is actually a pretty solid movie. I really admired this movie a lot.
I think this is one of 2016’s most underrated movies that came out because there was really nothing about this that I hated, this was an overall nearly perfect movie.
The acting is really solid in this, Lupita N’Yongo is really excellent in this, David Oyelowo is really good in this, the young actress playing Phiona, Madina Nalwanga, is really excellent in this, I hope she gets more movie work in the future because she was excellent in this.
The cinematography is nicely done, Sean Bobbitt does a really good job of making Uganda look as impressive as it does here, Mira Nair does a good job of directing the film, the script by William Wheeler is a little bit too predictable for a sports drama but they do a good job of giving it its’ own edge and format to it.
Queen Of Katwe is definitely more of a crowdpleasing movie on the level of Hidden Figures and I think the movie should’ve gotten more attention than I think it did get, the acting is great, the film looks impressive, the music is nicely done, the story is well told, this is definitely a movie you’ll want to check out, give it a watch and enjoy it.
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